Lincoln Caplan


Anthony Lewis was a columnist for The New York Times for the unusually long tenure of thirty-two years. When he retired in 2001 at the age of seventy-four, Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal for setting “the highest standard of journalistic ethics and excellence” and for being “a clear and courageous voice for democracy and justice.” Lewis ended his last column by paraphrasing one of his heroes: “The most important office in a democracy, Justice Louis Brandeis said, is the office of citizen.” Lewis’ point was that the American commitment to the rule of law and the belief in reason on which it rests both depend on citizens standing up to rulers who abuse power by exercising it unreasonably – arbitrarily and unjustly.

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